The ninth-ranked Cal women’s basketball team opened its season Friday night with a 91-62 win over Vanguard, the top-ranked NAIA team in the nation.
Brittany Boyd, Reshanda Gray and Courtney Range each had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Bears, who led 44-30 at the half. Boyd added five assists and four steals, and Afure Jemerigbe contributed 14 points.
The Cal women will hold a free, open practice Sunday at 11 a.m. at Haas Pavilion. The Bears open their regular season Friday at home against Long Beach State in the first game of a doubleheader also involving the men’s team.
The Cal women’s basketball team, coming off its first trip to the Final Four last season, is rated No. 9 in the USA Today preseason coaches poll, matching the Bears’ highest preseason ranking.
Cal was 32-4 last season and shared its first Pac-12 championship with rival Stanford.
Courtesy of Stephanie Hammon of our staff, a report on the Cal women from Thursday’s Pac-12 media day:
From halfway around the world, Brittany Boyd showed this summer that she is ready to take the lead for the Cal women’s basketball team.
Coming off their first ever trip to the Final Four, the Bears will attempt to maintain their elite status in the women’s basketball world.
And with standout guard Layshia Clarendon now showing off her silky jumpshot and clutch scoring in the WNBA, Boyd knows it’s her time to take more of a starring role for Cal.
The junior point guard played “at a whole different level” during the team’s August tour in China, Cal associate head coach Charmin Smith said at Thursday’s Pac-12 media day.
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The Cal women’s basketball team, coming off its first-ever Final Four appearance, begins practice Tuesday.
The Golden Bears were 32-4 last season, shared the Pac-12 title and return three starters to a team projected as No. 3 in the country, according to Lindy’s magazine.
I spoke last week with coach Lindsay Gottlieb about her team. Here’s our conversation:
What do you and your players expect from this encore season?
“I think our baseline for everything has been raised. Our expectations now permanently for Cal women’s basketball have been raised. Does that mean we’re going to go to the Final Four every single year? No, everything has to go right. But if there’s a legacy that team left, it’s there’s a way you play at Cal. You play for each other, play with a lot of heart, play very hard, enjoy it. Now that that’s established, the level of expectation every day in practice is higher.”
Courtesy of Stephanie Hammon from our staff, here’s a story on the Cal women’s team securing an oral commitment from 6-foot-1 guard Gabby Green of St. Mary’s HS in Berkeley.
From New Orleans and a first-ever trip to the Final Four last spring, the Cal women’s basketball team resumes action next week with three exhibition games in China.
But the 10-day adventure is as much about team bonding and cultural adventure as basketball.
Senior guard Afure Jemerigbe said she is excited about walking on the Great Wall and bargain-hunting at Beijing’s famed Silk Market.
“Especially the shopping,” echoed Brittany Boyd, a junior all-Pac-12 guard. “Everything’s a little cheaper out there than the U.S.”
Coach Lindsay Gottlieb, who has heard stories about the aggressive vendors at the Silk Market, said, “I think our players will be able to hold their own in the shopping department,” she said.
Boyd isn’t as confident she’s ready to confront the irregularities of Chinese indoor plumbing. “I hear it’s like a little hole in the ground,” she said of the restrooms. “I’m a little nervous about that.”
Lindsay Gottlieb, who guided the Cal women’s basketball team to its first Final Four appearance last season, has been rewarded with a two-year contract extension through the 2017-18 season.
“Each and every day that I come to work, I am honored to be the head women’s basketball coach at the top public institution in the world,” Gottlieb said. “I get to coach tremendous young women and work with smart, passionate, committed people, both on my staff and in our athletic department.
“I am thrilled to sign this extension with the University of California, and I am beyond grateful for the belief in me demonstrated by Sandy Barbour and Chancellor Dirks.”
Gottlieb has led the Bears to a 57-14 record in her first two seasons, including a school-record 32-4 in 2012-13, when she was a National Naismith Coach of the Year finalist.
NOTE: I will be at the Pac-12 football media day Friday and will file reports at BearTalk, on Twitter (CalBearsBang) and at our websites: www.insidebayarea.com/sports, www.mercurynews.com/sports and www.cctimes.com/sports.
Swimmer Tom Shields and basketball star Layshia Clarendon are Cal’s recipients of the 2012-13 Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference Medal winners for achievement by a senior athlete in scholarship, athletics and leadership.
Shields led the Golden Bears to a victory at the Pac-12 championships, where they snapped Stanford’s 31-year hold on the conference title. Shields was named Swimmer of the Meet after winning five events and finishing second in a sixth.
At the NCAA championships, he won the 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard fly, tying Michael Phelps’ national record in the longer event. Shields and the Bears finished second in the team competition, with Shields pushing his career total to 11 NCAA titles.
Clarendon led the Cal women to their first Final Four, averaging 21.4 points in five NCAA tournament games. The first-team all-Pac-12 guard averaged 16.4 points for the season, spearheading the Bears’ charge to a record-setting 32-4 season.
Cal junior forward Reshanda Gray was named to the USA Women’s World University Games roster and will participate in the event at Kazan, Russia, July 8-15.
Gray averaged 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds as a sophomore last season. She will train with the USA team from June 25 through July 1 in Colorado Springs.
Cal senior Gennifer Brandon also took part in the team tryouts, which ended Sunday. Brandon was not chosen to the 12-player roster
Here’s a Q&A with Gray, courtesy of USA Basketball:
What was your initial reaction when they called your name?
“I was nervous. I was having butterflies. I was locked arms with my teammate Gennifer [Brandon], and I was just telling her, ‘Make the team or not, this is just a learning experience for us to get better.’ We’re just very thankful and blessed to be here. I’m one of the top 33 college players in the country, just being able to be here and try. I just want to cry right now. I’m so emotional because we worked so hard, and I just give props to my teammate Genn. She definitely pushed me, and I just give props to everybody back home for sending good vibes and good luck wishes.”
Guard Layshia Clarendon, who led Cal to its first women’s Final Four appearance, was chosen No. 9 by the defending champion Indiana Fever in the WNBA draft.
Clarendon was a two-time all-Pac-12 selection and helped the Bears to their first conference title. She is considered a strong leader and good defender with an effective mid-range scoring game.
Clarendon became the highest-drafted Cal player and just the third Golden Bear to be drafted by the league, following in the footsteps of Ashley Walker (2009, No. 12 in 2009) and Alexis Gray-Lawson (No. 30 in 2010).
“It’s exciting (to play for Indiana),” Clarendon said. “I’ve always been a part of underdog teams and now I’m a defending champion by default. I’m excited to play with my fellow Pac-10/Pac-12 sisters (Briann) January and Jeannette Pohlen.”
As expected, the top three selections in the WNBA draft were Baylor’s Brittney Griner (Phoenix), Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne (Chicago) and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins (Tulsa).